Sponsorship can offer a non-intrusive way for brands to reach customers in a positive state of mind.
With the Premier League season now upon us, brands have got even more of an opportunity to be seen by the millions who follow football across the globe.
For the first time, they can choose (and pay) to appear on players’ shirt sleeves as well as in more traditional sponsorship placements.
It’s truly boom time for sponsorship deals in football and here at JJ we’ve been delighted to be involved with our client Global Reach Partners and their sponsorship of Premier League club Crystal Palace.
So how have we got to this stage and what can brands gain from it? We asked a few of our people for their views.
The huge growth in Premier League TV rights money both at home and overseas is just one indication of the massive exposure it now gets. Under those circumstances, the only surprise is that it’s taken so long for extra ad space to be created on shirts. Things like injury time and the match ball have been providing sponsorship opportunities for some time now. Look out for future chances for brands to put their logos on a player’s laces, the physio’s magic sponge and the ref’s whistle.
Compared with the likes of France and Mexico, UK football shirt designs are fairly restrained – so I’m surprised it’s taken this long for sleeve sponsorship to arrive in the Premier League. Obvious benefits are increased revenue for the Premier League and its clubs, and increased exposure for brands. However, the drawbacks can’t be ignored, such as diluted exclusivity and potential conflicts of interest between existing sponsors and those keen to take the sleeve. The most interesting for me is that bar Manchester City, Watford and Stoke – no other clubs have confirmed a deal – suggesting the opportunity may not be as compelling as the Premier League perhaps thinks…
Sponsorship can be a great way to grow the credibility of a brand. Association with the right team or event can be a very strong tool for awareness and PR. Further to this it can be a very positive way to communicate with potential customers, with the rise of ad blockers to sieve out millions of online ads and catch up TV allowing consumers to fast forward through ads, brands are having to be increasingly savvy to reach their customers. Sponsorship can offer a non-intrusive way for brands to reach customers in a positive state of mind, placing the brand right in the middle of the action.
I would be very interested to see brands taking a more creative approach to sponsorship as a whole. A great example of creative sponsorship is Specsavers partnership with Scottish referees; not only did it create direct exposure for the brand but in doing so it provided considerable coverage as a result of extensive PR take up.
I also think it’s important that the sponsor is mindful of situations where the ‘sponsored’ becomes bigger than the sponsor. Take the ‘Booker Prize for literature’ (now the Mann Booker). I wonder how many people immediately associate the prize with the sponsor – a UK based food wholesaler?
A forecasted growth of 4.5% in spend this year demonstrates that many brands consider sponsorship to be beneficial. And why wouldn’t they, it’s a great way to increase brand awareness and foster brand loyalty. But there’s now an alternative, that wasn’t around a few years ago – influencer marketing. While sponsorships have long had, and will continue to have, a place in brand building, the rise of influencers and bloggers gives brands more options and methods of reaching different audiences.